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This article was published 24/11/2017 (1682 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Kildonan East Reivers are off to a solid start in the Winnipeg High School Hockey League season. But if the boys are going to win the Winnipeg Free Press ‘B’ Division title, they’re going to need to learn a little discipline.
"We’ve been harmed by taking penalties, in some games where we could have won" head coach David Ramsay told The Herald.
With 11 of 17 players returning, team chemistry has come relatively easily for the Reivers this season.
"This is the strongest team I’ve had a chance to work with at KEC," said Ramsay, who put in four years as an assistant before taking the reins as head coach this season.
"We have the potential for a championship but we have a lot to improve on."
In seven regular-season starts heading into their Nov. 28 game against Westwood, the Reivers had three wins and two losses in regulation time, and another two losses in overtime and in a shootout. Their record was good for 11 points, putting them in the middle of the 11-team division, six points up from West Kildonan in last place but 10 points shy of first place Shaftesbury.
"We’re heading into most difficult part of season," Ramsay said, noting the Reivers play 10 games between Nov. 28 and the Christmas break, many against top teams in the division.
"We need to develop greater consistency to be successful this month. We’ll see a lot of what this team is made of in coming weeks."
"We’re gunning for the top teams, we want to take their spot," said Matt Soltys. A Grade 12 centre and a team captain in his second year with the team, Soltys has four goals and seven assists in six games to date.
"I think we can light up the scoreboard with our talent but we need to stop taking penalties, and work on getting out of our defensive zone."
Combined, the Reivers have spent 104 minutes — nearly two full games — in the sin bin in only seven games.
"Most of our penalties are being lazy, just stupid stick penalties," agreed Kyle Jensen. A Grade 12 defenceman and third year veteran on the team, Jensen has contributed seven assists in seven games played. "We don’t want to spend our whole game down a man."
"The attitude can cause a lot of issues," Matthew Myrowich, a Grade 12 left winger, said of the lack of team’s discipline. With nine goals and six assists, Myrowich leads the Reivers with 15 points in seven games.
"In front of our net we need to improve, and in supporting the D and supporting the wingers when they have the puck on the wall. Otherwise, I think we’re strong offensively. I think we have the skill to win it all."
"There’s nobody in this league we can’t play with five-on-five," Ramsay added.
While the team’s senior players are especially focused on making a run at the title, Ramsay said that, if nothing else, he hopes to create a positive atmosphere on the bench, and to foster lifelong friendship and memories among the Reivers players.
"My goal is for these guys to have an experience like I had," said Ramsay, who played high school hockey for St. John’s Ravenscourt in his youth.
"We really worked together as a team, won as a team, lost as a team. When we see each other, it’s like old times."
The Reivers are in Stonewall on Nov. 29, then play host to Steinbach on Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. at Gateway Rec Centre (1717 Gateway Rd.).
Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7112